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Media Advisory: RHIC and LHC Findings Take Center Stage at Quark Matter 2011

Search for transition to quark-gluon plasma and further evidence of symmetry violations among results to be presented

EVENT: Physicists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory conducting research at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at BNL and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the European laboratory for nuclear and particle physics research, gather with experimental and theoretical physicists around the world in Annecy, France, May 23-28, to present and discuss their latest findings. Quark Matter 2011 is the twenty-second meeting of physicists seeking to understand how the elementary subatomic constituents of matter organized themselves to form the matter that makes up our universe today, and how this organization emerged from the primordial matter created by the Big Bang some 14 billion years ago.

WHERE: The Theatre National (plenary sessions) and the Imperial Hotel (parallel sessions), Annecy, France.

WHEN: May 23-28, 2011. See full schedule

DETAILS: Findings from the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a 2.4-mile-circumference particle accelerator/collider that has been operating at Brookhaven Lab since 2000, will highlight the versatility of this machine to collide a variety of heavy ions at a range of energies. Research to date has demonstrated that the highest energy collisions of gold ions produce temperatures hot enough to "melt" the protons and neutrons that make up ordinary atomic nuclei to produce a "perfect liquid" of quarks and gluons known as quark-gluon plasma (QGP). One recent goal of the RHIC program has been to systematically vary the collision energy to search for the "critical point" at which the evolution from ordinary matter to QGP changes from a smooth to an abrupt transition. Results from this energy scan indicate that RHIC is likely in the "sweet spot" for detecting the onset of the QGP transition and the critical point. Additional findings will further describe properties of the QGP perfect liquid, and provide further insight into early hints that tiny "bubbles" within this primordial plasma appear to violate one of the fundamental symmetries that normally govern the interactions of quarks and gluons.

Three LHC experimental groups conducting heavy-ion experiments will also be presenting data that relate to the RHIC results. These results confirm the perfect liquid nature of quark-gluon plasma and tease out further details of its properties. See the CERN news release about the LHC heavy ion results:

Research at RHIC is funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science and by various national and international collaborating institutions, with support from many funding agencies (full list).

One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry, and government researchers. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE's Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, for and on behalf of Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities; and Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization. Visit Brookhaven Lab's electronic newsroom for links, news archives, graphics, and more (, or follow Brookhaven Lab on Twitter.

2011-11286  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office